Remembering author and Frank Hampson biographer Alastair Crompton

Alastair Crompton Montage

I have only recently learned of the death of Alastair Crompton in July 2019, aged, I believe, 83. Alastair was the author of two biographies of Frank Hampson. The first was The Man Who Drew Tomorrow, published in 1985 and the second, Tomorrow Revisited, published in 2010.

Both books were lavishly illustrated with colour frames and pages from EAGLE, with many examples taken from original artwork. But, dissatisfied with The Man Who Drew Tomorrow, Alastair was determined to produce a definitive work and completely rewrote the book over several years to produce the impressive
Tomorrow Revisited.

“Sad to hear,” said artist David Lloyd, commenting on Alaistair’s passing. “He came to talk to the Society of Strip Illustrators on his book on Hampson. Like others of his generation who sought to celebrate and venerate creatives of that era in British comics, he was truly dedicated to it when such dedication was seen by many as eccentricity.

“Things are a little better now in Brit comic pop culture understanding, but guys like him were pioneers at the time. We can all be thankful for their passion.”

He was a major contributor to The Lost Characters of Frank Hampson website, having introduced many of these proposed strips to a wider audience as a result of his researches.

Tomorrow Revisited - The Complete Frank Hampson Story (2012 US Edition)The cover of the hardcover edition of Tomorrow Revisited - The Complete Frank Hampson Story, published in 2012
The cover of the hardcover edition of Tomorrow Revisited – The Complete Frank Hampson Story, published in 2012

“I became a devotee of Frank Hampson about ten weeks into the life of Eagle in June 1950,” he wrote in 2013. “I had never seen the future the way Hampson depicted it in Dan Dare, and to my mind no comic-book artist has seen it with such inventive clarity since.

“I believe Hampson died sad, bitter and broken,” he added. “I am sure his torturers never felt the least remorse at their treatment of him. And, as is the way of things, there was never the remotest chance they would be called to account.

“I regret he refused to write his own story (I begged him to in the nineteen eighties) and I would be very pleased indeed if a few young people discover my two books and have the chance to marvel at his work.”

Crompton was also a successful copywriter, and wrote three books on the subject. These were The Craft of Copywriting, published in 1979, Do Your Own Advertising, published in 1985 and The Copy Book, first published in hardback in 1996 and also in paperback, several times.

He worked in advertising for more than twenty five years. Probably his best known
success in advertising was the ‘Central Heating for Kids’ slogan used by ‘Ready Brek’.

Steve Winders

You can read Steve Winders review of Tomorrow Revisited here

The Book Palace is offering a combination package of The Man Who Drew Tomorrow and Living With Eagles, the biography of Marcus Morris, here, along with some extra items

Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Books, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features, Obituaries

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